This new remastering by Andreas K. Meyer is nothing short of sensational. Some of the finest performances of Mahler & Bernstein, it's amazing how much detail Sony/CBs can get from this stunning SACD!
"This legendary first commercial recording by Leonard Bernstein of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 has until now, only been available in generally inferior-sounding LP, open-reel, and CD formats, using a master tape derived from the original recording session tapes. It has never until now, been given the opportunity to show the sonics it likely had, and which it now reveals via SACD"
Fischer’s performance of the Sixth is quite similar to Abbado’s recent live recording for DG. Textures are generally light and transparent, with a swift opening march that, by the same token, never sounds unduly rushed or trivialized. The andante comes second, not the best option in my view, but Fischer has the intelligence to treat it as a true andante, and not as an adagio (which is a more legitimate possibility when it’s placed third). However, in contrast to Abbado’s boring Berliners, Fischer’s orchestra plays better, and he’s much better recorded. Just listen to the characterful brass in the coda of the first movement, with a particularly fine first trumpet, or the splendid woodwinds in the trios of the scherzo. The emphasis on fleetness never compromises expressivity, as happens in Berlin.
This is Ivan Fischer’s second Mahler symphony for Channel Classics with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, his first being the Sixth recorded in February 2005. His opening to this Resurrection symphony, its hero’s Funeral Rites, is disciplined with touches of brusqueness in the brass. But as this is supposed to ask ‘Why did you live?’ I’m very aware of Fischer’s empathy for the visionary aspects of the movement, as if to answer ‘To experience all that’s lovely’.
One can hardly believe the SACD sound Sony has achieved here, trumping even the "Carnegie Hall Presents" remaster! It is almost unbelievable that the original sound we were able to hear back in 1961 has been so revived from that original recorded in New York's Manhattan Center.